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U.S. National Institutes of Health
Last Updated: 03/05/10

Appendix A

Summary of State Laws

This summary of state laws does not include full citations for statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment or insurance on the basis of genetic testing or genetic information. There are other comprehensive collections of state laws addressing genetic nondiscrimination in employment and insurance. Therefore, there are complete references only where the statute is relevant for the conduct of research using tissue specimens.


Confidentiality of Health Information

Health care information maintained by providers must be kept confidential and disclosures are restricted. [West’s Revised Code of Washington 70.02.005 et seq.]

Conditions Imposed on Genetic Testing/Use of Genetic information

Genetic information may not be used for employment purposes.

Permitted Releases of Health Information or Genetic Information for Research

A health care provider may disclose health care information about a patient without the patient’s authorization to the extent a recipient needs to know the information, if the disclosure is for use in a research project that an institutional review board has determined: (i) Is of sufficient importance to outweigh the intrusion into the privacy of the patient that would result from the disclosure; (ii) Is impracticable without the use or disclosure of the health care information in individually identifiable form; (iii) Contains reasonable safeguards to protect the information from redisclosure; (iv) Contains reasonable safeguards to protect against identifying, directly or indirectly, any patient in any report of the research project; and (v) Contains procedures to remove or destroy at the earliest opportunity, consistent with the purposes of the project, information that would enable the patient to be identified, unless an institutional review board authorizes retention of identifying information for purposes of another research project.

[West’s Revised Code of Washington, 70.02.050]

Definition of Genetic Test/Genetic Information

Genetic information is information about inherited characteristics that are derived from a DNA-based or other laboratory test, family history, or medical examination. Genetic information does not include routine physical measurements, including chemical and urine analysis, unless conducted purposefully to diagnose genetic or inherited characteristics. [West’s Revised Code of Washington Annotated 49.44.180]